MIE Professors among fourteen engineering professors and staff members honoured for excellence by the Faculty

Fourteen Engineering faculty and staff have been honoured for their outstanding contributions to the Faculty with teaching, research and administrative staff awards.

These awards recognize exceptional faculty and staff members for their leadership, citizenship, innovation and contributions to the Faculty’s teaching, service and research missions. The recipients would normally be recognized at the Faculty’s annual Celebrating Engineering Excellence reception, which had to be cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m grateful to have this opportunity to acknowledge the amazing contributions made by our faculty and staff” said U of T Engineering Dean Christopher Yip. “On behalf of the Faculty, warmest congratulations to the awardees, and my heartfelt thanks to all our faculty and staff members for their hard work, dedication and commitment to excellence.”

The award recipients from MIE are:

McCharles Prize for Early Career Research Distinction – Eric Diller

Recognizing exceptional performance and distinction in early career research, typically on the part of a pre-tenure member of the Faculty.

Eric Diller’s research focuses on developing miniature robots which can be wirelessly controlled just like full-sized robots. His goal is to enable a radically new approach to medical procedures and create an entirely new set of scientific tools. Diller shrinks the mechanical and electrical components of robots to centimeter, millimeter and micrometer length. As these miniature components are too small for batteries or microchips, he then develops novel ways to wirelessly control them, using magnetic fields and smart materials. He is developing the fundamental and applied devices and methods towards real implementation for diagnosis and surgery. Along with his academic, clinical, and industry partners, Diller is making strides towards trials and commercialization. His work has been recognized with several of the top awards for early career researchers in both robotics and mechanical engineering.

Early Career Teaching Award – Amy Bilton 

Recognizing an early career instructor who has demonstrated exceptional classroom instruction and teaching methods.

Amy Bilton has served as Director of the Centre for Global Engineering since 2018. Through this role and her classroom teaching she has created unique opportunities for our students to work with international partners in the area of engineering for global development. Most notably, she has developed international capstone projects for students in the mechanical engineering and multidisciplinary capstone design courses. These allow students to travel abroad and work with community members in the developing world to address local challenges using their engineering design skills. Due to the extremely high demand for these projects, Bilton has significantly expanded the initiative in recent years, providing opportunities for students to work with NGOs in Kenya, Guatemala, and Rwanda, as well as the Canadian far north. She has successfully fundraised and recruited the support of other faculty members to further develop this program.

Faculty Teaching Award – Tim Chan

Recognizing a faculty member who demonstrates outstanding classroom instruction and develops innovative teaching methods.

Tim Chan is a talented and dedicated teacher who has developed new courses and new ways of teaching operations research. He developed the course Analytics in Action, a case-based introduction to data analytics that has proven hugely popular, and led the creation of the popular MEng Emphasis on Analytics. One of the ways Chan’s teaching is unique is his use of games to explain difficult concepts – he has developed a game modelled on the TV show Deal or No Deal to explain decision making under uncertainty which has been used in engineering and MBA programs in several institutions, including Duke and MIT. Chan has published on his teaching methods and presented at international conferences. In addition to being a great mentor to his students, Tim makes a point of training and mentoring his TAs, both to ensure his courses are well-taught and to pass on his exceptional teaching to the next generation of engineering educators.

See all of the U of T Engineering staff and faculty recognized with a Faculty award on the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering News Site.

– Award recipient excerpts were originally published on the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering News Site on April 22, 2020 by Carolyn Farrell

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